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Relegation won’t be dropped, FA warns top flight

Safety first: Mings has spoken frankly on issues around restarting the season PICTURE: REUTERS

THE Football Association has told the Premier League it will not green light a voided season or sanction relegation being scrapped.

As the sport tries to find a way to complete a campaign halted in the home straight by coronavirus, FA chairman Greg Clarke urged top-flight chairmen to draw up a plan for a situation in which the season cannot be completed.

The governing body is a ‘special shareholder’ in the Premier League, meaning it has the power to veto proposed changes to promotion and relegation. And Clarke yesterday told clubs the campaign must be decided by on-field results even if remaining fixtures are scrapped.

That means the title — certain to go to Liverpool — European qualification and relegation, as well as promotion from the Championship could be decided using a points-per-game average from matches played so far. The Premier League does, however, remain committed to completing the season behind closed doors at this stage.

The FA’s insistence that relegation remains part of the campaign came after some suggestions struggling clubs would only accept proposals to play at neutral grounds if the possibility of going down was removed. The news, though, will be welcomed by Aston Villa’s England defender Tyrone Mings.

Despite Villa being in the drop zone, Mings made his position clear before the FA’s intervention when responding to a tweet about the issue. He wrote: ‘In my eyes we either play with relegation, because it’s safe to do so or don’t play because it’s not safe to do so.’

Mings also said his views would probably not be taken as seriously as those of Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, who admitted players such as himself were ‘scared’ of returning before it is safe to do so.

‘Player at the top of the league raises concerns about playing again: “Yeah he’s probably right, that’s sensible”,’ quipped Mings.

‘Player near the bottom raises the same concern: “Yeah well you just don’t want to be relegated”.’

■ TOP-FLIGHT player contracts ending on June 30 will can now run to the end of the season.